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  • Study Type

    Full time & Part time available

  • Subject Areas

    Sociology

  • Start Date

    September

  • Course Duration

    1 year full time, 2 years part time

  • Course Type

    MSc

  • Course Fees

    website

  • Last Updated

    16 August 2017

Course content

Programme overview

Social researchers employ a constantly evolving range of qualitative and quantitative methods to explore attitudes and experiences, and to understand patterns of social behaviour.

This programme won't just train you in the application of specific research techniques: it will illuminate the connections between sociological theory and empirical research, and relate research to the development of public policy and the analysis of substantive social issues.

Wider issues of the social research process are also covered and include: the planning and management of research projects; the methodological, theoretical, philosophical and ethical aspects of research; and the presentation and publication of research findings.

Programme structure

This programme is studied full-time over one academic year and part-time over two academic years. It consists of eight taught modules and a dissertation.

Example module listing

The following modules are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

Work experience

On the MSc Social Research Methods, we offer the opportunity to take four weeks of work experience during the Easter vacation. This will provide you with first-hand experience of large-scale and real-life research in action.

Where the full period is not practical, as may be the case for part-time students, it is also possible to take up the opportunity of a shorter period of two to four weeks, usually during the summer. Work experience is arranged with the help of the Department’s placement tutor.

Please note that while we try to meet all requests for work experience, in some cases it may not be possible.

Sociology Scholarships Available for 2017/18

Thomas Asdell Bursary

Thanks to the generosity of the family of former student Thomas Asdell the department can offer a bursary of £1000 to one new MSc student for 2017/18- please email the course director for details.

Sociology Scholarships

Two scholarships of up to £3,000 will be available across all Sociology MSc programmes, to be awarded on a competitive basis to self-funding students accepting an offer of a place on the MSc for the academic year 2017/18.

Both types of scholarship will be paid in the form of a fee remission of the appropriate amount, and will be open to both home and overseas students. Part-time students will be eligible to apply and, if successful, will receive a scholarship which is reduced pro rata but may be continued for a second year of study subject to successful completion of the first year.

Residential conference and day conference

The MSc Social Research Methods includes a residential conference, usually in November.

The conference provides an opportunity for discussion in an informal atmosphere, around current research issues and debates, technologies and methods at the forefront of social research; it includes lectures from eminent guest speakers and members of staff, seminars and small group discussions.

The Department also organises a day conference for MSc students at the University, with student presentations and guest speakers.

Sociology research

The Department of Sociology is internationally recognised as a centre of research excellence. A particular area of strength is research methodology and research training.

Members of staff undertake a wide variety of internationally renowned individual scholarship including work on gender, employment, organisations, cross-national survey, culture, ethnicity, sociological theory, environment, youth and identities, sociology of sleep and the sociology of social policy.

The Department’s commitment to developing technical competence in research methods, and encouraging the use of appropriate information and communication technologies in social research, is reflected in the fact that it houses the UK national centre for software for qualitative data analysis (CAQDAS).

The Department runs a successful international fellowship scheme which enables international researchers to visit Surrey each year. These strengths in research, and in innovative research methods in particular, feed into our master’s-level teaching and inform the continued updating of content within modules.

Educational aims of the programme

The main aims of the programme are to:

  • Provide an appropriate training for students preparing MPhil/PhD theses, or for students on to employment involving the use of social science research
  • Introduce students to a variety of different approaches to social science research at an advanced level
  • Cover the principles of research design and strategy, including formulating research questions or hypotheses and translating these into practicable research designs
  • Make students aware of the range of secondary data available and equip them to evaluate its utility for their research
  • Develop skills in searching for and retrieving information, using library and Internet resources
  • Introduce students to the philosophical, theoretical and ethical issues surrounding research and to debates about the relationship between theory and research, about problems of evidence and inference, and about the limits of objectivity
  • Develop skills in the use of SPSS, and in the main statistical techniques of data analysis, including multivariate analysis
  • Develop skills in the use of CAQDAS software for the analysis of qualitative data
  • Develop skills in writing, in the preparation of a research proposal, in the presentation of research results and in verbal communication
  • Help students to prepare their research results for wider dissemination, in the form of seminar papers, conference presentations, reports and publications, in a form suitable for a range of audiences, including academics, policy makers, professionals, service users and the general public

Global opportunities

We often give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities.

In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.


Visit the Social Research Methods MSc page on the University of Surrey website for more details!

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